12/30/99 - Electric Bikes in St. Louis

Electric bicycles are now permitted on the Katy Trail!
Furthermore, you can rent a bike with Pro-Drive engine at the trail - and from what I've heard, rates are very reasonable.

12/16/98 - New place to find mopeds

Walneck Classic Cycle Trader magazine used to be "motorcycle-only", but they've recently added "Motorbikes and Scooters" section, which seems to be growing!

10/02/98 - Whizzer website is now online - check it out at http://www.whizzermotorbike.com !

05/12/98 - The Solex motorbike is back in the USA!

The moped revival is going ahead full speed - I just received the following letter:

The Solex motorbike, formerly known as the VeloSolex, has now returned to the US. It has not been sold in the US since the 1970's but has returned. The timing of the Solex's return could not be better. Its look and feel is on the cutting edge of today's retro culture.

Here are some of the interesting traits of the Solex:

  • Incredible gas mileage--200 miles per gallon.
  • No hassle ownership. The Solex is classified in the United States as a bicycle. In many states, an owner need not have a license or title to own and operate one.
  • Very quiet. It operates at just 65 decibels.
  • The Solex has a great history. First patented in the 1940's, the Solex "motor-assisted bicycle" has been a best seller throughout the many years. At one time, it was the 2nd best-selling motorbike in the world. Over 10 million bikes have been sold worldwide.

    The Solex is now being distributed in the United States by Solexus, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Solexus has achieved the sole distributorship of the US. For more information, email us or call 1-800-393-7101 and ask for Spencer.

Chris Matthews

More info about new Solex:

  1. The Solex was originally made in France from 1940 to 1996. In 1996 the company moved to Hungary.
  2. The retail price of the 3800 model is around $1,300. There is also a Roland Garros model which sells for around $1,500.

03/25/98 - Honda to Launch New Electric Bike on Aqril 22

Tokyo, Japan - Honda Motor Co. Ltd. reportedly announced it will launch a new electric-assist bicycle on April 22 in Japan, reports Reuters. The "Raccoon Comp" is a folding bike with styling designed to appeal to young customers. Honda forecasts it will sell 20,000 of them annually and a total of 82,000 of its various models of electric bikes in 1998. Honda began selling electric bikes in February 1995; in 1996, it sold 46,000 of them. Japanese sales of electric bikes - from various manufacturers - more than doubled between 1996 and 1997. In 1996, electric bike-makers sold 91,000 electric bikes. In 1997, they sold 225,000 units. A Honda spokesman attributed the increase to the availability of lower-cost electric bikes.

03/18/98 - ZAP, Chinese Partner Open 1st Electric-Bike Store

San Francisco - Electric bicycle-maker ZAP Power Systems and a Chinese firm have opened a San Francisco store they say is the first electric bike and scooter store in the U.S. and China. The two plan to open a second store in China tomorrow. The San Francisco store, opened in partnership with electric scooter-maker Suncom Machine Co. Ltd. of China, is located at Fisherman's Wharf and offers the two companies' products for sale or rent. A unique service offered by the store is battery swapping, which eliminates the time it would otherwise take to recharge the batteries. As part of the agreement announced today, ZAP says it has received exclusive North American marketing rights for Suncom's "Electricycle," which Suncom says is the first full-sized electric scooter approved for sale in China.

02/12/98 - Iacocca Aims to Sell 50K Electric Bikes Annually

Detroit - Former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca says he plans to sell 50,000 electric bicycles per year after sales begin late this summer, reports Reuters. Earlier this week, Iacocca announced a partnership between his company, EV Global Motors, and the parent company of nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery-maker Ovonic Battery Co. (News Notes 2/10/98). The lead-acid battery-powered bikes will be priced at $995; with accessories, the price could hit $1,400. Later, Iacocca plans to offer NiMH battery-equipped bikes; he said NiMH batteries offer the same 20-mile range as lead-acid but weigh half as much. A prototype of Iacocca's bike weighs 35 pounds; with lead-acid batteries, it weighs 60-70 pounds. Regarding electric vehicles, Iacocca said, "It's a fascinating business. Its time has come. We in the next year would like to put an electric something - probably an electric bike - in every garage." He also plans to offer electric scooters and small, four-wheel neighborhood vehicles.

01/23/98 - EMB Says it Has 1,000 Electric Motorcycle Orders

Sebastopol, Calif. - Sebastopol-based Electric Motorbike Inc. (EMB) reports it has orders for 1,000 of its "Lectra" electric motorcycles. EMB President Scott Cronk said two groups in the United Kingdom have ordered a total of 300, an Italian group has ordered 300 and dealers in the U.S. are asking for another 400. Currently, three dealers in the San Francisco Bay Area carry the bikes; Cronk said his company plans to sign and stock 20 dealers by June. A new manufacturing facility in Morgan Hill, Calif. is expected to begin pilot production in March. The $3,599 motorcycle has a top speed of 45 miles per hour and a 40-mile range on its lead-acid batteries. The Lectra features a built-in charger, an automatic transmission and a brushless electric motor. Earlier this week, EMB announced a partnership with a major Italian electronics manufacturer to build bikes for EMB in Europe (News Notes 1/19/98).

01/21/98 - Vectrix to Produce High-End Electric Scooter

Newport, Rhode Island - Vectrix, a Rhode Island-based start-up firm, says it will begin production this summer of a high-end electric scooter it intends to sell in Europe, reports the Boston Globe. The company has already invested $3.5 million in the effort and plans to spend a total of $20 million in the next 18 months to launch its scooter, which it calls "the Mercedes of electric scooters." Performance of the two-passenger, aluminum frame, fiberglass-bodied scooter reportedly matches that of a 250cc gasoline-powered scooter; Vectrix claims it accelerates from zero-to-60 mph in five seconds. The scooter is powered by 10 Hawker lead-acid batteries, has a 60-70-mile range and is expected to sell between $4,500 and $6,000. Because its brushless motor is mated to the rear wheel, a driveshaft and transmission are unnecessary. Vectrix plans to assemble 2,500-5,000 scooters per year in a New Bedford plant.

01/20/98 - Yamaha, U.S. Bike-Maker Pair on Electric Bikes

Cypress, Calif. - U.S.-based bicycle manufacturer Trek has been granted one-year exclusive rights to Yamaha's electric-bike power-assist units in North America and will debut its "ElekTrek" bike in March, reports Bicycle Retailer. The bikes, in both men's and women's models, will retail for $1,300. The bikes will be sold in all but five U.S. states and in Central and South America. Each self-contained Yamaha "PAS" unit includes an electric motor, torque sensor, battery charger and nickel-cadmium battery; modifications from the Japanese version include a boost to its maximum speed from 15.5 mph to 20 mph. Yamaha has been making electric-assist units since 1993; the units Trek will use are a third-generation design. Yamaha is also selling the units to four European bike-makers: Bianchi, Kynast, MBK and Sparta. Even though MBK is a wholly owned Yamaha subsidiary, Yamaha intends to sell Yamaha-brand electric bikes in Europe also.

12/03/97 Tomos on the web

Tomos began construction of their website. Not much to look at yet, but keep your eye on http://www.tomospro.com

11/04/97 U.K. - Motorbike and moped sales up

"Motorcycle registrations are currently up by 32%, with mopeds up 35% on last year's figures, according to the MRA. The figures, which include the first 20 days of August, are: mopeds 6957 motorcycles 54,729. In 1996, there were 9051 (moped) and 59,328 (motorcycle) registrations."


10/23/97 - Kasea scooter now qualifies as moped in New Jersey

I received the following email from one of the New Jersey moped dealers:

Dear Sir,

Are you aware that Kasea has now added PEDALS to their scooters making them legal in New Jersey. I notice that you advertise the dealer with the lowest prices such as my friend Steve Hassa at Steves Mopeds in Dumont NJ .Well I have the Kasea model 50 at $925 (1998 Model) and the 50B model at $1199. I would appreciate a listing on your site.You can get the picture from my friends at Mini Trail Bikes in Lindenwold NJ at www.jersey.net/~mtb. They are also the factory rep for NJ. I have found these machines to be VERY reliable and easy to assemble and prepare for the road. So far no problems at all with these machines. I think we are going to see a big demand for this excellent product after an abscence of both quality and style in one package for a LONG time. Europe is in for a battle if they try to compete with this one .

Yours Sincerely,
Michael Ritchie
Owner:-Mickeys Mopeds
63, Main Street,
Tel. 732-544-1614
Fax 732-544-4559

09/22/97 - NAVC, Montague Team on Folding Electric Bikes

Cambridge, Mass.- The Northeast Alternative Vehicle Consortium (NAVC) and bike-builder Montague Corp. have partnered to build a full-size folding electric bicycle for use by the U.S. military, but with civilian commercialization potential. The project, co-funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is designed to offer ground-mobility alternatives to walking infantry or transportation by heavy vehicles. Another advantage of electric bikes is that they are nearly silent and don't have the "heat signature" of conventional vehicles that could otherwise make them vulnerable to electronic detection. Other possible applications include park-and-ride commuting; the bike folds to 36-by-30-by-12 inches and may also be easily pedaled with its motor turned off. Cambridge, Mass.-based Montague already supplies folding mountain bikes to the Boston police and to European and Asian customers.

09/09/97 - ZAP Unveils $499 Electric Bike

Sebastopol, Calif. - Electric bicycle-builder Zap Power Systems has unveiled a low-cost electric bicycle that it says will retail for $499. The price, far less than other electric bikes now on the market for between $900 and $2,000, will spur the market, said ZAP spokesman Gary Starr. "The key to expanding the consumer electric vehicle market is cost; industry estimates show that 2 percent of the 15 million bikes sold annually in the U.S. could be electric if the price became more affordable," Starr said. The new low-cost, single-motor system is fitted to a six-speed bike that features a portable, lockable battery case with an integrated charger. ZAP attributes the price reductions to its efforts with its Southeast Asian partners, including a Chinese bicycle manufacturer (News Notes 2/10/97).

Here's some more info on it:
The WorldBike will be available to the general public in December. It will be similar to the ElectriCruizer SX ( http://zapbikes.com/cruizer_sx.html ) in that it will have the new single motor ZAP, but the bike will be a bit different. Check back in soon for more info.

ZAP Customer Service

08/21/97 - Iacocca Says 1 Million U.S. Electric Bikes Per Year

Golden, Colorado - Lee Iacocca expects the U.S. market for electric bikes to be one million bikes annually and said his new company, EV Global Motors (News Notes 6/17, 6/24, 6/26 and 7/24/97), will have its first model on the market by June, 1998. His comments came Tuesday to shareholders of Unique Mobility, an electric vehicle drive-system supplier in which he owns a 12 percent share. "I've spent 50 years in the auto industry, putting one and sometimes two cars in a lot of garages. Now we need to replace one of those cars with an electric car. It may take a while to get the right battery, but I believe it will happen. In the meantime, we'll start with bicycles and scooters to lead the electric revolution," Iacocca said. He said there are already 100 million bikes in the U.S.; 10 million new ones are sold annually. Ten percent - one million bikes a year - could be electric bikes, he said.

07/24/97 - Bicycle engine coming from Toronto

07/22/97 - Biz Week - `Charger' Electric Bike One `to Watch'

Monrovia, Calif. _ Business Week - in its "Developments to Watch" section - has featured an electric bicycle being built by a joint-venture of AeroVironment, Inc. and GT Bicycles Inc. The half-horsepower electric motor on the "Charger" bike, a product of Monrovia, Calif.-based Charger Bicycles LLC, uses unique "torque-sensing" electronic controls that allow the rider to amplify their own muscle power anywhere from 50-400 percent. The $1,500 bike has a range of up to 20 miles and will travel at up to 18 miles per hour. In a unique smog-reduction effort in San Bernardino, Calif., buyers who agree to leave their cars at home and commute to work at least twice a week on the bike are eligible for a $600 grant towards the purchase.

07/04/97 - Solar Scooter to be Sold in Japan

Kanagawa, Japan _ Yukosha Co. has started importing and selling a U.S.-made solar-powered scooter, reports Nikkei America. The scooter was developed in 1995 by Edgetech LLC of California and 200,000 units are sold annually in the U.S. The scooter is operated using a throttle grip and a brake lever, like an ordinary scooter. It has three wheels, weighs 30 kg, can be folded, has a maximum speed of 30 km an hour and can go between 19 and 24 km on a single charge. Charging takes about 12 hours using the solar panel, or from 5-8 using a household power supply. The vehicle is initially targeted for use on private land but will soon apply for approval as a motorized bicycle to be driven on public roads.

07/03/97 - New Dimension Edge Bicycle Engines

From the letter by Rob Felt:

Dimension EDGE Italian....

This new kit comes with a completely redesigned mount, but it follows the proven basics of DImension EDGE bicycle engines.

As you have probably read in numberous articles, we seem to be getting the best reviews. The feedback from our customers, (we ask them) continues to help shape our business. Who else offers tires, lights, panniers, baskets, etc.

Anyhow, the newest stud on the block is built by the same company that makes parts for Lambrogini. Absolutely the finest machining I ever saw. You will agree.


1.85 DIN BHP. All engines you show on your website are SAE rated. SAE means at best. DIN means anytime. DIN is also a world standard. So when I say 1.85 BHP, believe me now, cause I'm gonna prove it, will out perform anything by an even greater margin then I'm already doing.

Can you tell I'm pleased with the results.

The engine is much quieter.
It gets better fuel economy.
It has a larger fuel tank standard.
It engine is rubber mounted to eliminate vibration.
It offers a centrifugal automatic system that can INTERCHANGE GEAR RATIOS. A first.

AND the engine has variable ignition timing. Move over Honda. This is new to this industry also. Variable ignition timing means that as the engine speed(RPM) increases the spark plug fires at slightly different times to vastly improve power and economy. Plus this allows the engine to run cooler which promotes longer life and steady power.

It cost a bunch for us to do all the tooling for this new project, but we funneled every penny of profit into building a new generation.

Our direct drive unit will be priced at $459. and the fully automatic version will sell for $499.00. This engine also will boast a much longer engine warrantee, and there is a 7 million dollar supply of spare parts already available, but I seriously doubt they will be used for years to come.

For that reason, we will be offering a money back guarrantee to anyone who already owns any body elses system, gas or electric. Because once you know the difference, you'll know Dimension EDGE Italian is going to be a new standard for light, smooth, reliable, quiet, and affordable...


06/17/97 - Iacocca Likes Electric Bikes, Starts Company

Taipei, Taiwan - Former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee Iacocca has announced he's formed a new company to build and market electric bicycles and scooters - and hints he may someday build electric cars, reports the Detroit News. "The time has come," Iacocca said of his new company, EV Global Motors Co., and the opportunities represented by "light electric transportation." He also suggests that - unlike the United States did - Asia, where he says "bikes are king," could easily bypass the gasoline-powered-vehicles stage and go directly to electric vehicles. Kwan Yang Motor Co., Ltd. (KYMCO) - Taiwan's largest scooter manufacturer - and its partners are the first of the companies Iacocca intends to forge strategic partnerships with in its worldwide marketing efforts. KYMCO will coordinate its electric scooter development through its joint venture, Taiwan UQM Electric Co., Ltd., comprised of partners Colorado-based Unique Mobility and Turn-Luckily Technology Co., Ltd.

06/18/97 - New electronic fuel injection system for the mopeds

> > BKM, Inc. has developed an electronically controlled, direct incylinder
> > fuel injection system for both 2 & 4 stroke engines. The project is
> > funded by a consortium of engine builders and the California Air
> > Resources Board. If you would like more information please contact John
> > E. Kelly III @ BKM,Inc. 5141 Santa Fe Street, San Diego, CA 92109.
> > Phone (619) 270 - 6760 Fax (619) 272 - 0337 or at this Email address
> > bkm-inc@worldnet.att.net Thank you!!
> Yes, I would like to find out more.
> 1) Is there a webpage with info ?
> 2) Is this system already incorporated in some mopeds/motorcycles ?
> 3) How does it differ from existing fuel injections systems, such as the
> one used in Tomos Targa ?

Thank you for your interest in BKM's fuel injection systems. The answer to your first question is no. BKM has not done a web page. Your second question requires a more detailed answer than can be given here. However, the short answer is that one of the systems is currently under development for the "moped" market. The first engine of similar design is scheduled to run in July. We currently are running our multi cylinder fuel injection system in a 3 cylinder, 115 horse power, Personal Water Craft that meets the 2006 emissions standards with excellent driveablity. The answer to your third question is again to long for this media, however, our system is electronic controlled, direct incylinder, gasoline fuel injection. For the moped size engines we are designing a single plunger system to be operated off of the crankshaft. It requires the use of an electronically controlled, High Speed Solenoid Valve to control the fuel injector. The prototype system has demonstrated that it exceeds the 1997 CARB Emissions Standards for utility engines and achieves better than 30% improvement in fuel economy. These numbers likely will improve when the system is optimized. BKM is seeking investors and engine companies as consortium members. If you would like more information, I would be happy to send it to you via "snail mail."

John E. Kelly III

05/22/97 - Changes at Dimension Edge

Quoting the letter:

"Please note we have added two new engines to our line-up. One is from Italy and will be available in late July. Powerful and quiet, though slightly more expensive. We will be doing a grand showing of it at Oshkosh 1997 July 31st. EAA Exposition.

We have hired a new engineer and now have a new engagement cable assembly that guarantees longer life and better operation."

05/20/97 - ZAP signs Swiss distribution agreement

04/15/97 - Tomos mopeds are going west!

I received the following letter from Tomos representative:

"Hello again.

First I'd like to say, its good to hear from a someone who likes riding 50 cc motor vehicles. To answer your questions, our web site is being produced, and we have a sales rep who is currently setting up dealers in the area you have mentioned. His name is Matt Hall and his company is Speede Service from Carbondale IL.

I noticed that you spoke to a few former dealers who did not give us a favorable review. Tomos is not a good product for all dealers. One must be motivated to sell and service these types of vehicles in order for it to be a viable product. For example our best dealer for the year 1996 sold over 150 mopeds in a small farm town in Ohio. This year he has purchased over 50 in anticipation of 1997. Fortunately for every 1 dealer who condems us, there are dozens who support us. Some dealers feel that mopeds just do not belong in their store. Perhaps they feel that mopeds are not worthy to sit on the same show room floor as some of their other products. Who knows? My point is, mopeds can be profitable for the dealer who is motivated.

We have made a commitment to the United States market in 1997 to spread the Tomos name as far as possible to the western part of the country. We have some tricks up our sleeve that I can't mention at this time. All I can say is, keep an ear to the ground, and you will see what I'm speaking about.

Soon I will Contact you with a web address where you can contact us at our office in Spartanburg SC. Until then, be safe, and enjoy!"

Joe Wofford

04/14/97 - Tomos in U.S.A. (letter)

"I'am the General Manager of Tomos USA. based in Spartanburg South Carolina. We have been in the US for twenty seven years, but have been limited to the eastern US since the Early Eighties. We have noticed alot more interest in mopeds recently from all over the country. One of our major problems seems to be in relation to the term "MOPED". It seems that that term carries a stigma that many people do not wish to be related to. However, year after year, we have continued to improve our products both visually and mechanically. Finally, we have a solid product that has earned the respect of the 50cc motorist. We find that the more we sell, the more acceptable they become. While I can't say that the Moped industry will ever match the levels of the Carter era, I do expect growth. As a factory rep. I can say we have seen an major increase in our sales this year, but more importantly, we are moving west again and our dealer base is becoming rather large."

04/14/97 - New moped dealer in Saint Louis!

Believe it or not, moped exposure is growing. I just learned that Kinetic moped is now available in Saint Louis. The price for the new one is $750 and it is sold by B & J Truck Sales (314-868-8186).

I really want to share the joy moped gives me, so I wrote the following note and taped it to the seat of my bike, parked outside office building:

"Wind in my hair, freedom from traffic jams, I go wherever I want and stop whenever I feel like it.

When it's cold, I drive a car. The world outside the window seems like the picture on TV screen. When I am on a moped, I feel more like I am in OmniMax theatre.

Hesitant to spend money ($750) on something you've never heard about it ? Not sure that you would like it at all ? B&J Truck Sales is at 868-8186 and they provide a free moped test ride. Certain dealer once said: "The secret to selling mopeds is to get them to ride it around the block - just once. Then they are hooked".

When I was buying this bike, I felt like I was spending big bucks. Yet, I never regretted it - what I bought is pure joy and what else can I hope to get for the money ?

And here's few more quotes: "The joys of bicycling and motorcycling are distilled in moped experience". "Fast enough to thrill, yet slow enough to enjoy the scenery" "Moped will not win you races, but it will surely take you places that you passed before, but never really seen".

I can certainly confirm the last one - I was amazed how much world there is in between the highway exits - something I haven't seen, flying past at 65mph.

No helmet, no license plates, no motorcycle license, no insurance required."

04/02/97 - Brunswick, Corp. Test-Markets ZAP Systems

Sebastapol, Calif. - ZAP Power Systems has signed an agreement with Brunswick Corp. - a $3.1 billion multinational company specializing in the active recreation market. Brunswick has agreed to purchase 250 ZAP electric bikes and 750 ZAP Power Systems for a test marketing program. Brunswick has the option - upon completion of the test program - to purchase additional ZAP systems and to develop a technology agreement granting it a license to manufacture the ZAP electric bicycle system. This is ZAP's second high profile agreement this year. In February, the company signed an agreement with Shanghai Forever Company, a China-based bike maker.

03/24/97 - Shanghai To Invest $21 Million in Electric Mopeds

Beijing, China - Shanghai's Energy Commission has announced it will invest more than $21 million to turn brand-name bicycles into emission-free electric mopeds, reports United Press International. Seven factories have been selected to help with the upgrade, which will be based on the popular Phoenix and Forever bicycle brands. Shanghai currently boasts nearly 500,000 mopeds and motorbikes...

The city hopes to produce 150,000 electric mopeds in 1998 while restricting the sale of gasoline-powered models. Under strict anti-emission legislation, the city plans to cut the number of gasoline-powered two-wheel vehicles to just 100,000 by the year 2000, with electric bicycles and mopeds expected to fill the gap. Shanghai has previously been supportive of electric mopeds but this is the first official announcement of an investment (News Notes 1/2, 1/29, 2/10, and 3/18).

02/13/97 - `Lectra' Electric Motorcycle Due in Spring 1997

Sebastopol, Calif. - The "Lectra," a unique new electric vehicle that its maker says is "the world's first production electric motorbike" will be available to buyers for around $3,000 this spring, reports Fleets & Fuels. The "retro cruiser-style" vehicle is a cross between a motorcycle and a scooter and is built by Sebastopol, Calif.-based EMB, Inc. It's powered by an advanced, brushless variable-reluctance motor that rockets its rider from 0-30 miles per hour in two seconds, while its regenerative braking system, coupled with a floating caliper front disc brake, brings it from 30 to zero mph in just 21 feet. It has a 35-50 mile range on its advanced lead-acid batteries and cruises at 35 mph; it will hit 45 mph if its unique "boost" feature is used. Among its options are a lockable clamshell sidecar, a 1.3-kilowatt fast-charger to replace its standard 440-watt on-board charger and spoked or polished aluminum disk wheels.

02/20/97 - Solar Scooter Follows Solar Plane?

Mokelune Hill, Calif. - Following his propeller design work on the Pathfinder solar plane built for NASA by AeroVironment (News Notes 9/24/96), aeronautical engineer Craig Catto now has a more down-to-earth project: "Solar Scooters." While the three-wheeled electric vehicle isn't directly powered by its deck-mounted solar panel, the panels do serve to supplement its battery charger. The 67-pound folding scooter has a top speed of 20 mph, a 12- to 15-mile range and retails for $795, including its optional seat. Relying on word of mouth - and without a cent spent on advertising - Catto's company, Edgetech, L.L.C., reports it has already shipped more than 500 in its first year. They went to customers in the U.S. and 11 foreign countries including Australia, Canada, China, England, India, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. Edgetech is also negotiating with entities in four countries desiring to license its technology.

02/10/97 California firm signs electric bicycle agreement with China

SACRAMENTO, California. (February 10, 1997) --ZAP Power Systems of Sebastopol, California announced today that through its entity ZAP China, it has entered into an agreement with the Shanghai Forever Company Ltd. to cooperate on the production and marketing of electric bicycles in China.

The 50 year old governmental/publicly owned Forever Company will distribute the ZAP Forever Bicycles through its 1,400 sales outlets in China. The bicycle factory, which has produced over 90 million bicycles and currently manufactures over 3 million bicycles a year, will also cooperate with ZAP in the manufacture of the ZAP electric bicycle.

Under the terms of the agreement, ZAP will provide Forever with up to 5,000 ZAP motors for a 6 month sales test program. After the test program, the parties will form a joint venture to develop, manufacture, and distribute the electric bicycles and other electric vehicle products including electric tricycles, electric scooters, electric motorcycles and electric wheel chairs.

"This order is not only a large order for ZAP, it is probably the single largest order for any kind of electric vehicle used for daily street use," said Margaret Wong, President of McWong International. "Forever looked at many electric bicycle companies around the world before they decided to go with ZAP. They went with ZAP because of their adaptability to the Chinese market, their low cost, and their experience in all kinds of electric vehicles. They intend to start with bicycles, then move on to other electric vehicles, such as electric scooters, motorcycles and other types of vehicles."

"Governor Wilson's recent mission to Asia demonstrated outstanding potential for the introduction of California's world-leading environmental technologies to China. We intend for today's agreement to be the first of many joint efforts with out Asian partners," said James M. Strock, California Secretary for Environmental Protection.

"Exporting emerging technologies and fostering new partnerships in Asia is driving California exports," said Julie Meier Wright, Secretary of the California Trade and Commerce Agency, who accompanied Wilson on the Asia trade mission. " California is showing itself to be at the forefront of entrepreneurial energy in the global market."

ZAP Managing Director Gary Starr said, "This contract is the result of over 10 years of work in developing the correct relationships. Our partner in their venture, Sacramento based McWong International, is a leader in China/U.S. business trade and joint ventures."

Mr. Fan Da Zheng, President of the Shanghai Light Industry Holding Company Group who oversees 790 companies including Forever, welcomed the cooperation between Forever and ZAP. "If the relationship is based on mutual trust and mutual benefits the venture will be a great success. The project has my support and will have good potential. Since Forever is one of the largest manufactures China, it is the right partner," he said. "Shanghai has recently banned the license of new gas mopeds and bicycles and intends to replace 80 percent of existing gas powered bicycles. Today there are over 470,000 such vehicles in just the city of Shanghai, and the government plans to encourage electric vehicles to take their place."

Starr said, "This contract is not only a milestone for ZAP, it is an historic moment in transportation. With this relationship, ZAP can be one of the leaders in low cost electric vehicles. Additionally, as its economy prospers, China is in the unique position to skip the polluting gas moped and scooter phase altogether and leapfrog directly from its millions of human powered bikes to clean electric vehicles. The pollution savings and growth possibilities are staggering."

ZAP intends to finance the increase in manufacturing and marketing of its electric bicycles through a recently cleared public offering of stock. All the shares offered are being sold directly by the Company. A prospectus is available in selected states by calling ZAP at it's Sebastopol office at 707-824-4150, or by downloading it form ZAP's web site at http://zapbikes.com.

Motorcycle/moped sales increase in England

01/16/97 - ZAP, Italian Electric Scooter Firm Sign Exclusive

Sebastopol, Calif. _ Electric bicycle-maker ZAP Power Systems has signed an agreement that gives it exclusive North American distribution rights for an Italian-built electric scooter. The agreement with Movity S.r.l. also provides for Movity to purchase and distribute ZAP's two- and three-wheeled bicycles and add-on electric bike kits in Italy and Austria. Movity makes a folding electric scooter, which ZAP markets under the "Zapino" label (News Notes 10/9/96). Movity's Chief Executive Officer, Luigi Boschin, said the company selected ZAP because, "Wherever I traveled in the states, ZAP's name kept coming up as one of the leaders of the industry." ZAP recently began selling its shares via the Internet (News Notes 1/7/97).

01/09/97 - Unique Mobility Lands Asian, Italian EV Contracts

Golden, Colo. = Electric vehicle (EV) drive system-builder Unique Mobility announced today it has received two contracts to assist vehicle makers in India and Italy seeking to build EVs. A $100,000 contract with India's Bajaj Auto, maker of a three-wheeled "Autorickshaw," is to determine the feasibility of putting Unique's electric scooter power system into its three-wheeler. Bajaj, with annual production of 1.3 million vehicles, is India's largest producer of two- and three-wheeled vehicles; it holds 50 percent of the market there. Its three-wheelers are also used as taxis, but India may be outlawing such taxis because of their excessive pollution (News Notes 11/21/96). A second contract is with Piaggio Veicoli Europei S.P.A. - the developer of the Vespa scooter - to install Unique's electric power system in one of its two-wheelers. Piaggio is also working with Ovonic Battery Co. on its electric scooter project (News Notes 7/10/96).

01/07/97 - Electric Bike-Maker ZAP Offers Shares via Internet

Sebastopol, Calif. - Electric bicycle-maker ZAP Power Systems has been cleared by the Securities and Exchange Commission to begin its initial public offering of 500,000 shares of stock at $5.25 per share. Residents of selected states may even download the company's prospectus from the company's Web site, located at http://zapbikes.com. Among Sebastopol, Calif.-based ZAP's products are electric two- and three-wheeled bicycles and add-on units for converting bicycles to electric power; the company also distributes electric scooters (News Notes 10/9/96). The company says its electric bikes will travel 500 miles on just one dollar's worth of fuel (News Notes 8/29/96). An electric bike powered by ZAP's system also broke the speed record for electric bikes in 1995 when its rider hit 56.77 miles per hour (News Notes 10/31/95).

12/31/96 - Japan Motorcycle-Makers to Form Alliance

Japan - Faced with a declining image and sluggish demand caused in part by their vehicles' excessive pollution, four Japanese-based motorcycle manufacturers will be forming an alliance in January, reports Kyodo News International. The Nippon MotorCycle Association (NCMA) will initially be comprised of Honda Motor Co., Suzuki Motor Corp., Yamaha Motor Co. and Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., but retailers and distributors are also invited to join. Along with environmental research on ways to make motorcycles run cleaner, the NCNA will also organize activities for motorcycle owners. Air pollution and noise restrictions pending in some countries are causing some motorcycle makers to explore electric-powered models (News Notes 7/19 and 10/14); A Lethbridge, Alberta-based company, NGV Corp., has already developed a natural gas-powered motorcycle that uses natural gas cylinders dispensed from vending machines (News Notes 11/17/95 and 10/23/96).

12/02/96 - Riding Saint Louis

Today, for the first time in St Louis, I saw other moped rider. His bike was light blue and looked pretty new - probably, Tomos. I tried to catch up with him to take a better look, but by the time I got green light, he was nowhere in sight. I got stuck in jams couple of times and I am sure, he merrily kept going on the shoulder.

I love this feeling, when I am on a moped myself - cars all in one long lane, as far as eye can see, but I don't have to follow their rules - the road is all mine!

11/29/96 - Chinese delegation visits ZAP

11/14/96 - Yamaha's New Electric Bike to Sell for $790

Tokyo - Yamaha Motor Co.'s new electric bicycle, compared to its current model, will be 36 percent cheaper and travel one-third farther on a single charge, reports Reuters. The new bike, which has a range of 18.6 miles - versus 12.4 miles for the previous model - will go on sale in Japan January 15 and be priced at $790 (87,800 yen), versus $1,233 for its current bike. Yamaha has already sold 100,000 units of its present model since its 1995 launch; the company has set a 1997 sales target of 100,000 of the new bikes. Honda Motor Co., Yamaha's major competitor for electric bikes, sold 36,320 of its bikes in 1995 and expects 1996 sales to hit 60,000 units.

10/22/96 - Electric-Bike Maker ZAP Going Public

Sebastopol, Calif. - Electric bicycle maker ZAP Power System may be going public, reports Fleets & Fuels. The Sebastopol, Calif.-based company already markets its electric bikes and electric conversion kits in the Sharper Image consumer electronics catalog, through automobile and bicycle dealers and through direct sales. According to Fleets & Fuels, the initial offering price will be $5.25 per share. For investors looking to cash in on the electric bike boom, this may be their first opportunity; electric bike-makers AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., Electrobike, of Burbank, Calif. and Electric Bicycle Co., also of Burbank, are not yet publicly traded.

10/09/96 - Electric Bike-Maker ZAP Debuts Electric Scooter

Sebastopol, Calif. - Electric bicycle-maker ZAP Power Systems (ZAP) has launched its latest electric vehicle: the one-passenger "Zapino," a folding electric scooter. Riders may stand on it like a push scooter, or sit on the folding seat as they speed along at up to 14 miles per hour. While many areas will not allow such vehicles on the road, ZAP says it could be ideal for indoor shopping malls, public parks, downtown areas closed to regular traffic, airports, factories - or for carrying on boats, airplanes and recreational vehicles. The Zapino is three feet long, weighs 73 pounds, has a range of five miles and recharges on any 110-volt outlet in three hours. It comes equipped with front and rear lights, a built-in charger and a horn. The price? $1,495.

After closer inspection, it turned out that Zapino is actually a renamed Italian scooter called Movity.

10/04/96 - Piaggio "Genius" prototype

09/30/96 - Vespa Cuts Emissions on Two Scooter Models

Rome, Italy - Faced with being shut out of markets worldwide because of its vehicles' polluted exhausts, the builder of the Vespa scooter is starting to clean up its act, reports Reuters. Scooters from Piaggio Veicoli Europei, S.P.A. (Piaggio) - largely unchanged since their introduction in 1946 - used two-stroke engines that burned a mixture of oil and gasoline, a dirty combination that doesn't meet North America's emissions regulations. A new 125cc model has a four-stroke engine that runs on unleaded gasoline; a 50cc model boasts the world's first two-stroke fuel-injection and reportedly meets European Union noise and exhaust standards for the year 2000. Two months ago, Piaggio announced another effort to build electric scooters along with Ovonic Battery Co., a Troy, Michigan-based nickel-metal hydride battery-maker. (News Notes 7/10).

09/19/96 - `Revi' Electric Moped Goes 1,000 Miles for $3

Alpharetta, Georgia - A new two-wheeled electric vehicle (EV) - a cross between a scooter and a moped - sports an all-aluminum chassis, has a 30-mile range and can be fast-charged in 20 minutes. The "Revi," built by Alpharetta, Georgia-based Recreational Vehicles International (REVI), travels at speeds up to 15 miles per hour on its three-quarter horsepower, direct-current (DC) motor. Features include full-time head- and taillights, turn signals, front and rear drum brakes and a two-chain drive system; one for the electric motor, another for the pedals. Dozens are already in use in resort-area rental fleets from coast to coast. The fast-charger supplied to rental fleets allows 20-minute recharging. The "fuel" cost to travel 1,000 miles is estimated to be three dollars. In April, REVI won a major award from the Aluminum Association for the vehicle's extruded aluminum chassis.

REVI contact information (found on Infospace):
9330 Industrial Trce; Alpharetta, GA 30239-3383
Phone: 770-664-6559

09/18/96 - AeroVironment, GT Bicycles Pair on Electric Bikes

Santa Ana, Calif. - Electric vehicle (EV)-developer AeroVironment has teamed with one of the nation's largest specialty mountain bike-makers to market electric bicycles. Charger Bicycles, LLC, a partnership between Santa Ana, Calif.-based GT Bicycles, Inc. and Monrovia, Calif.-based AeroVironment, will unveil its prototype bike tomorrow at the Interbike West trade show in Anaheim, Calif. Rather than a throttle, the bike uses a programmable torque sensor that gives various levels of automatic electric assist - from mild to "bionic" - depending on how hard the rider pedals. Other features? A two-chain drive system to eliminate the need for tire-driving rollers; quick-releases for detaching the 24-volt drive system and its batteries; and user-defined personal identification numbers to turn on the system. Retail price? $1,499; $1,699 with suspension front forks.

08/29/96- Electric Bikes 500 Miles Per Dollar of Fuel
08/27/96 - Taiwan Licenses Unique Mobilitys EV Technology
07/18/96- ECD, Ovonic, Russia Team on Batteries, Solar

This page will report news related to all kinds of motorized bicycles - mopeds, power assisted bicycles, etc. Many newsbits originate from Calstart, which is in the very heart of electric vehicle development.
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